Why Do We Put Up Christmas Trees?

Why Do We Put Up Christmas Trees?

Karly Wampler, Writer

Every Christmas we put up our Christmas trees, but now one really knows why we put them. It just seems to be a tradition that the origin hasn’t really been questioned. Christmas trees with candles didn’t come to the United States until the 1800s. Christmas trees have been used since the ancient Egyptians. The Egyptians thought that winter was when the sun god, Ra, got sick. The winter solstice was the time when the god began to recover from the illness. To celebrate they would fill their homes with green palm rushes.In Northern Europe, the Druids would decorate their temples with evergreens, which symbolized everlasting life.

In the 1600s, the Germans started using Christmas trees as what we use them now. It is believed that the Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, was the first one to add candles to the evergreen trees. He was walking one evening towards his home, and put a candle on a tree. He was in awe of how the light twinkled on the evergreen needles. He recreated it for his family by bringing a tree into the living room, and putting a candle on the tree. The trees came to America in the 1830s, but weren’t accepted by the Americans until the 1890s. Americans accepted it after an illustration of Queen Victoria of England with her husband and kids by a Christmas tree. This illustration was on the cover of the Illustrated London News, and instantly started a trend in Britain and the US.

In the 20th century, Americans decorated their trees with homemade ornaments, while Germans still used apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies. Now, many use lights, and store bought ornaments to decorate their trees.